Dubai Intolerance Noted by World

A few months ago a well known Corporate VIP, accustomed to doing business throughout the world, reported that his company had been monitored, and company Internet invaded and eventually frozen by the UAE.

It has become well known that Dubai, and the UAE, has one of the world's most invasive Internet and communications monitoring policy in the world. Banks, finance, and big business are particularly concerned about this and word is spreading like wild fire in board meetings around the globe.

Business leaders will not tolerate this dangerous trend. Can the world's financial leaders afford to do business in a nation/state that "listens" to their communications and at will can "freeze" their web sites and communications if something offends a Cleric or religious bureaucrat?

It is the mix of fundamentalist religion, politics with business that is dangerous. This story from the Associated Press suggests that the UAE is not a free culture.

Those who do business in UAE hope Dubai will "mature" into true freedoms required by the world's family of civilized nations. In the meantime important investors will continue to withdraw from the region.

One move of assurance would be a law that UAE will not spy on, block, or monitor communications of businessmen in Dubai. E.D.

Latest flaps call Dubai's tolerance into question

By ADAM SCHRECK and BARBARA SURK – 21 hours ago

Intolerance pushes back peace and progress!

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Middle East's most ambitious city has worked hard to build a reputation not just as a financial powerhouse but also as a tolerant and wealthy patron for international sports and arts. The image has paid off with big-name, lucrative tournaments and festivals.

But "Brand Dubai" was tarnished by a string of controversies the past week - over a ban on an Israeli tennis player and a literary festival's dropping of a novel, apparently because of a gay character. Add to that a battered economy, and some are wondering whether Dubai can still deliver on its promises to be an easygoing Middle East oasis for business and entertainment.

The Gulf city-state of about 1.2 million has long struggled to balance the demands of its international ambitions and the conservative traditions and politics of its Muslim Arab population.

In the past, Westerners doing business here could easily overlook controversies because the cash was rolling in. But they may be more reluctant to stick by Dubai when business is bad. The emirate is deep in debt, real estate prices are dropping and laid-off foreign workers are leaving.

"When Dubai was rich and successful, everyone wanted to be its friend," said Christopher Davidson, a specialist on the United Arab Emirates and a lecturer at Durham University in the United Kingdom. "Now that it has no money in the pocket, nobody wants to be pals anymore."

In the tennis flap, Dubai in the end chose internationalism over its sense of Arab solidarity against Israel. After Israeli women's player Shahar Peer was denied entry to play in the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, it caused an uproar in sports circles, with top players criticizing Dubai, some sponsors dropping out and tennis authorities warning of bigger consequences. The decision came from federal authorities in the UAE — not specifically from Dubai, which is one of seven members — but the distinction was lost on most observers.

The Wall Street Journal Europe, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., dropped its sponsorship of the tournament, and Barclays bank came under pressure to do the same. The Tennis Channel also objected to the control issues of the UAE government, which it believes were prompted by religious leaders trying to assert themselves into the political/cultural life of UAE. 

Big business, investors and world class money sources will avoid Dubai, if intolerance and political activism pressed by religious extremists are able to exert their influence in the nation. To attract the most progressive and financially successful people in in world, Dubai must be open...not a closed society.